For obvious reasons, optimism about the outcome of the next election took a bit of a nosedive among the Party members on our ConservativeHome survey panel round about June 2017. Before the snap election, around 90 per cent of Party members routinely thought a Conservative majority was the most likely outcome of the next election. At the outset, in April, a staggering 96.4 per cent thought a Tory majority the most likely result. By June, in the aftermath of the misfiring campaign, that had fallen to below 40 per cent.
The figure showed some improvement over the summer, rising to 47 per cent by the end of August, as Theresa May stabilised her position against the expectations of many. But then came the Party conference, and that speech, which saw expectations of a Tory majority slip back to 38 per cent – bolstered a bit, however, by the news that 15 per cent now foresaw minority Tory government, meaning that there were at least still an outright majority of members who expected the Conservatives to retain power after the next election.
The figure has now recovered somewhat from the conference slump, climbing back to its highest level since August: 46.4 per cent of our respondents now think a Conservative majority is the most likely outcome of the next election. That’s the good news. The bad news is, of course, that this is still less than half the score we saw back in April 2016. Tories may be more optimistic now than they were immediately after the 2017 election, but they’re still a lot more pessimistic than they were before it.
Further down the table, a further 15.3 per cent believe a minority Tory government is most likely, and a mere 7.3 per cent think a Tory-led coalition will result. In total, that means 69 per cent of Party members think the Conservatives will be in power in some shape or form after the next election, whenever it might be. Of the 31 per cent who foresee Labour in government, it’s interesting that there’s an approximately even split between the prospects for a minority administration (9.6 per cent), an outright Labour majority (10.5 per cent), and a Labour-led coalition (10.92 per cent).